Gut Health the Ayurveda Way
If you’ve been paying attention to health-related news recently, you’ve probably come across the phrase “gut health” more than a few times. This relatively new trend in the wellness community typically calls for incorporating healing foods into one’s diet to improve the health of the digestive system.
“Gut health” and “healing foods” may be the wellness buzzwords du jour, but the concept of using food to improve gut health and heal the body is far from a new idea. In fact, this line of thinking has been a staple in Indian culture for well over 3,000 years.
Ayurveda, which comes from the Sanskrit words “ayur,” meaning life, and “veda,” meaning science, is an ancient Indian practice based on the belief that overall health relies on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. This alternative medicine practice uses food as medicine to help balance internal energy. A primary goal of the practice is to fuel the body with the nourishing and healing foods it needs to maintain physical and emotional balance.
Ayurvedic Foods that promote gut health
Although it’s recommended that you visit an Ayurvedic specialist to determine which foods work best for your own body, there are a few foods that Ayurveda regards as universally healing. Try incorporating these healing (and delicious) foods into your diet to improve overall gut health:
It’s common in India to eat a small piece of this spicy root immediately before a meal as it is believed to aid in digestion. If you’re not accustomed to raw ginger’s potent flavor, however, it’s best to start slowly. For a more beginner-friendly take on this Ayurvedic practice, try steeping a small slice of the root in hot water to make your own ginger tea or adding minced ginger to stir fries.
Green, leafy vegetables.
Ayurveda practitioners tout leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and bok choy for their potent purifying effects on the body. These superfoods are great at detoxifying your liver and balancing blood sugar levels. For a side dish that’s equal parts healthy and flavorful, sauté leafy greens in a tablespoon of coconut oil with garlic and your favorite herbs and spices.
Like ginger, cumin seeds are often used in an Ayurvedic diet to ease the body’s digestion. The warming flavor of this bloat-busting spice works especially well in hearty curries and stews.
These sweet and chewy fruits are rich in fiber, making them very effective at keeping your digestive tract moving as it should. Be careful to enjoy dates in moderation though; Ayurveda warns that overindulging in these fruits can lead to an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar. Stick to one or two pieces daily.
According to Ayurveda, lemons are another purifying powerhouse that help to reduce “ama,” or toxins in the digestive system. Begin your mornings with room temperature lemon water to kick your digestion into high gear for the rest of the day.
Incorporating these healing foods into your diet is a great place to start improving your gut health, but there’s even more to gain from the Ayurvedic lifestyle. To fully reap Ayurveda’s health benefits and learn more about this long-standing holistic health practice, look for an Ayurveda specialist in your area who can help you find the best healing foods for your body.